Researchers say the creature had unique vertical ridges that ran from its eyes to its nose
Fossils of a terrifying new type of tyrannosaur have been discovered in Canada — and it’s so horrifying that scientists have dubbed the creature the “reaper of death.”
The carnivorous Thanatotheristes degrootorum is a cousin of the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, and has large serrated teeth, NBC reported on Monday.
The 79.5-million-years-old tyrannosaur is the first new species to be discovered in Canada in half a decade, and is the oldest known tyrannosaur on record to be found in North America, researchers on a study about the discovery said, according to the outlet.
University of Calgary doctoral student of paleontology Jared Voris, the lead researcher on the study, said that the tyrannosaur would have been eight feet tall at the hips. The massive animal measured about 26 feet long from its snout to its tail, NBC said.
“It definitely would have been quite an imposing animal,” he said to Live Science.
“Imposing” might even be putting it lightly — the tyrannosaur’s teeth were each more than 2.7 inches long, according to NBC.
While the fossils were found back in 2010 by the Canadian couple John and Sandra De Groot, the discovery of T. degrootorum was not made until Voris was going back through the collection of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta.
The newly discovered, monster-like creature also had vertical ridges that ran from its eyes to its nose, a feature that Voris told Live Science “are not like anything we’ve ever seen before in other tyrannosaur species.”
“Exactly what the ridges do, we’re not quite sure,” Voris said.
“These [features] differ from tyrannosaur groups in other regions: the more lightly built relatives, like Albertosaurus, that tended to live slightly farther north in south-central Alberta, and more primitive forms with shorter, bulldog-like faces of the southern USA, [including] New Mexico and Utah,” added co-researcher Darla Zelenitsky to Live Science.
There were some other fossils found nearby those of T. degrootorum in Alberta, but those belonged to some plant-eating dinosaurs, Live Science reported. Zelenitsky told the publication that it’s likely those species were prey for the carnivore.